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Santa Monica Police Call on Residents to Help Stop Domestic Violence

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By Lookout Staff

October 19, 2012 -- Joining forces with the Commission on the Status of Women, the Santa Monica Police Department is asking residents to help fight domestic violence.

Since October is national Domestic Violence Awareness month, SMPD officials are taking the opportunity to educate residents that domestic violence is “a crime, not a private family matter,” and calling on them to report abuse when they see it.

“Every week, there are several domestic violence related arrests made in Santa Monica,” said Sergeant Richard Lewis, a spokesperson for the SMPD. “Domestic violence is not acceptable. It is a crime of passion. More often than not, the violence always escalates.”

Last summer, a woman was stabbed while on the job at a Santa Monica Albertson's by her estranged husband. She later died as a result of her injuries.

“Every time a family will get into a heated argument, people will call. We'll respond and investigate,” he said.

“Even if the victim the doesn't want to press charges, if there are injuries present, we will take the non-injured person to jail,” said Lewis. Or if both are injured, they will arrest the aggressor.

SMPD officials encourage victims of domestic violence to request arrest, even if there are no injuries.

“Studies show that when the police arrest a suspect for domestic violence, the offender is less likely to assault the victim again,” officials said.

“I think it's very important to recognize that this is something that happens in every neighborhood,” said Annie Goeke, chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. But, “there are warning signs and there is help out there.”

“We want to let people know, especially young women, that there's a support system and programs that address domestic violence,” she said.

Among those resources available are the L.A. Commission on Assaults Against Women 24 hour crisis line at 310-392-8381 and the Legal Aid Foundation of LA, Domestic Violence Clinic for restraining orders or legal advice, which is located at the Santa Monica City Courthouse, Room 121 and is open Monday - Fridays from 8:30 until 11:30 am.

Those seeking help can also call the Sojourn Shelter for Battered Women 24 hour crisis line at 310-264-6644.

Those with questions or seeking resources without reporting a crime can call SMPD Crimes Against Persons Unit at 310-458-8451.

To report a crime that is a non-emergency, call 310-458-8491.

“It's about getting woman to have the courage to go out and get the help that they need,” Goeke said. “If you let it go, it could turn into something very serious.”

“Nationwide, an average of 3 women tragically lose their lives each day as a result of domestic violence,” SMPD officials said.

“The commission will continue to support every effort to end domestic violence. This is an issue that hits hard in every community and we urge everyone to learn more about domestic violence and ways to stop it,” Goeke said.

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